Monday, June 28, 2010

Musing Monday...If Your Friends All Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You?

This week’s musing asks…
What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or “The Da Vinci Code”).
Do you read them? Why, or why not?

Interesting question. Let's see...
Twilight books...didn't read them.
Harry Potter books...didn't read them.
Da Vinci Code...didn't read it.

So, what do I think of books that get a lot of hype, the huge book everyone, and by everyone I mean not just people that usually read a lot of books but even non-readers, is reading.
It would seem not much.
No, in fact those sort of extremely popular books, for some reason, just turn me off. I am not sure why. Maybe I am just contrary. Maybe I don't really want to be part of the crowd. Or maybe I think these books are sometimes more about the hype, the publicity, than quality.

Now, if you take those examples, I think I can make the case that the first two have a different target audience in mind than me. Twilight..well, I saw all those screaming teenage girls and decided maybe I would just skip those. I am happy they like them, but I didn't have that much in common with teenage girls when I was a teenage girl. Mr. Potter and his friends are a slightly different case. I actually read the first book in the series and for whatever reason, it just did not click for me. It was not bad but I had no desire to read the second book. I know many of you out there in BlogLand love the series but it just did not appeal to me. Again, I am thrilled the books did so well, especially with young people. Any book that might turn people, especially kids, on to the magic of reading, is a great thing. But maybe not my taste.

Now Da Vinci is a different matter. For the life of me, I can not understand the popularity of that book. I did not read the whole book, but I did read as much of the book as one can hanging around in a Border's bookstore for an hour or two. An hour or two that I will never get back, thank you very much Mr. Brown. I thought it was awful. It was, IMHO, poorly written, full of drivel and in terms of things like facts and history, a mess. I think it is possible that it is drivel and invented history that for their own reasons actually appeal to some people, but I hate stupid books. Even more, I hate poorly written, stupid books.

So no, for me, a book being 'huge' and all the rage, does not mean a lot.
I would much more quickly pick up a book that someone whose opinion I respect, be it a fellow blogger or a RL person, recommends. Take a book like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Yes, it has had a good bit of success but I read it because so many of you all recommended it...and of course I loved it. Or take a book like I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This. I read that book not because it is hugely popular but rather because several of you all recommended it...and I think it is a wonderful book. Now that is a book people should be reading instead of The Da Vinci Code. If several of my A-List, must-read-every-day book bloggers all agree about a book, yes, I will most likely get my hands on a copy, even add it to the towering TBR pile.

Watch Out Kitty!!

Musing Monday is hosted, as always, by MizB at Should Be Reading. Drop by and check out some other answers.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your post today, and say I have to agree with you. I have found some nice fun summer reading, by reading what the other book blogging reviewers have to say about a book. I think they do a better job then the professional reviewers.

  2. I'm not sure I understand myself when it comes to reading the big blockbusters. Sometimes I get really stubborn and snarky, and refuse to follow. Take The Shack for instance. I got so sick of people telling me I HAD to read it. Now I won't ever. I did read Twilight and Harry Potter though. I knew I had to with Twilight because my daughter wanted to read it and I felt I needed to screen it. Harry Potter I just love and didn't care about anybody else. I think of myself as being tapped into pop culture, which is usually my motivator. I hate to be left out of a rage.

  3. Completely agree with you, caite. I haven't read Twilight, Harry Potter, or DaVinci Code - nor anything by their authors. I'm probably not going to read this summer's blockbuster, The Passage (despite Justin Cronin being one of my former writing instructors) and even though I read The Hunger Games, I don't have any interest in the sequel.

    Maybe that makes me sound like a snob, but for whatever reason, the big blockbuster books usually don't appeal to me.

  4. Wow, I'm really finding "like-minded" individuals here on this meme. I tend to avoid hyped books because I don't want to be "swept away" into some kind of publicity machine's agenda...

    When the dust settles, if someone I respect recommends one of those books, I might try one.

    Here's my musing:

  5. I haven't read Harry Potter or Twilight, but I did read The DaVinci Code.

  6. I think huge over-hyped books like that are fine - if nothing else they get people talking about reading. That doesn't always mean I'll read them, though.

  7. haha you have more willpower than I do I always try to resist. Although I really do love Dan Brown all of his books. I just can't help myself. I know they're not great masterpieces but I'm entertained by them.

  8. I haven't read the Twilight books or the Potter ones but my big issue is with John Grisham. Man! I think that guys a hack... Seems everybody loves him but me. :)

  9. The Shack...another one I will not read!

    Grisham...I liked his first couple of books but then...I remember an interview with him once where he said he had a contract to write X number of lawyer books and he did not want to..but he had to. oh yeah, I want to read those. Not.

  10. Big blockbusters are usually not my cup of tea. I tend to disagree with popular opinions.

  11. Not a follower of fan fiction either. I did read Twlight because I had to find out what got my sons reading it.

  12. So you're saying if your book blogging friends jumped off a bridge, you would too .. just not the rest of the American reading public.

  13. I'm with you on this one. I trust fellow bloggers more than books receiving all the hype.

  14. Jenner, no, I think if the general public...or the blogging community...jumps off the bridge, I will stand on the edge, look down as I hold on tight and wave at them all as they float away. ;-)


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